There is no righteousness that makes us right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right with God by grace alone through faith alone and therefore have been adopted into God’s family, many of our righteous deeds are not only not filthy in God’s eyes, they are exceedingly sweet, precious, and pleasing to him.
Love does not equal unconditional affirmation. Love entails the relentless pursuit of what is for our good.
When we sin, our union with Christ is not in jeopardy. But our communion is.
Some Christians are prone to go on lengthy idol hunts and can’t feel good unless they feel bad about something.
You have permission to see evidences of grace in your life. You are allowed (and expected) to be obedient. You will never be perfect in this life. You cannot do anything to earn God’s love. But as a redeemed, regenerate child of God you don’t have to be a spiritual failure.
The Spirit is a light to us in three ways. (1) He exposes sin so that we can recognize it and turn away. (2) He illumines the Word so that we can understand its meaning and grasp its implications. (3) He takes the veil away so that we can see the glory of Christ and become what we behold. Or to put it another way, the Spirit sanctifies by revealing sin, revealing truth, and revealing glory.
Add a note the gospel aids our pursuit of holiness by telling us the truth about who we are.Certain sins become more difficult when we understand our new position in Christ. If we are heirs to the whole world, why should we envy? If we are God’s treasured possession, why be jealous? If God is our Father, why be afraid? If we are dead to sin, why live in it? If we’ve been raised with Christ, why continue in our old sinful ways? If we are seated in the heavenly places, why act like the devil of hell? If we are loved with an everlasting love, why are we trying to prove our worth to the world? If Christ is all in all, why am I so preoccupied with myself?
By faith we are justified. And by faith we make every effort to be sanctified. Faith is operative in both—in justification to receive and rest, and in sanctification to will and to work.
God is constantly making promises in the Bible, and these promises are meant to fuel the engine of obedience.
That’s essentially what spiritual warfare is: believing the truth from God instead of the lies from the devil.
If I had to summarize New Testament ethics in one sentence, here’s how I would put it: be who you are.
By faith, through the Holy Spirit, we have union with him. Christ lives in you and you in him. You are one with Christ, so live like Christ. Be who you are.
I fear many of us have become numb to the poison we are drinking. When it comes to sexual immorality, sin looks normal, righteousness looks very strange, and we look a lot like everybody else.
We must always remember that in seeking after holiness we are not so much seeking after a thing as we are seeking a person.
The Bible allows for no such division between communion with Christ and obedience to Christ... Fellowship with Christ does not exist apart from fealty to Christ.
We need to understand that time spent in prayer is time spent with our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. Communion is the goal, not crossing off a line on our to-do list.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Notice how Christ’s words are synonymous with his person. We take hold of Christ as his words take hold of us. Mutual indwelling involves more than just obedience. It also “entails a growing absorption of Jesus’ words.
We think relevance and relate-ability are the secrets to spiritual success. And yet, in truth, a dying world needs you to be with God more than it needs you to be “with it.”
Horatius Bonar reminds us, holiness is not measured by “one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom. . . . It is of small things that a great life is made up.”
The best-looking Christian is the one growing by the Spirit into the likeness of Christ.